Video Conferencing in the Public Sector

 In past posts we’ve discussed the benefits of video teleconferencing (VTC) for federal government agencies and state and local government entities.

ImageVTC solutions can enable government organizations to cut costs on unnecessary travel and extraneous estate. They can empower telework, increase employee productivity and improve work-life balance. They can even enable government leaders to make faster, more informed decisions.

Unfortunately, despite the cost savings that many VTC solutions can enable over time, government entities at the federal, state and local level may find themselves in a financial situation that keeps them from acquiring them. However, the implementation of VTC solutions doesn’t have to be extremely expensive for government agencies. And in some cases, it may even put dollars back into government coffers.

Nextgov recently featured an article about the expansion of shared services within the federal government. Shared services are essentially IT solutions that an agency develops and then sells into other agencies. The agency absorbs the cost of the initial infrastructure purchase and implementation, but then takes in recurring fees from offering the solution as a service to offices and divisions with the agency.

The article details how shared services have benefited Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had its IT budget slashed by more than $600 million. However, they managed to recoup some of those costs by developing IT services that they then provided to other DHS divisions at a fee.

Shared services ultimately benefit all parties involved. The agency or office that implements them gets to use them and gains an additional source of revenue. The agencies that purchase the solutions as a service get them as a recurring operating expense that is easier on their budget instead of as a single, large capital expenditure.

The shared service model works for government organizations at all levels, including federal, state and municipal government. Federal agencies tend to be comprised of multiple offices and divisions. Often, these offices and divisions handle their own IT budgets and acquisitions. The parent agency – or in the case of the CBP, one department within the agency – can purchase a solution and sell it across the rest of the agency.

The same applies to states and local governments that can do the same with their own individual agencies and the county and city governments within their borders. In fact, in some instances where individual cities within a state have larger Information Technology budgets than the state itself, shared services offer an excellent opportunity to utilize those budgets to implement an IT solution state-wide.

With their ability to increase productivity, cut costs and increase efficiency, VTC solutions are becoming increasingly essential in today’s government. And shrinking budgets don’t have to stand in the way of implementing them. Utilizing shared service models, agencies can make their money back on their VTC implementations, while offering them as a service in a budget-friendly manner to other government entities.

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